Jackets' Upshall no strager to trades

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 AM ET

Scottie Upshall is familiar with the routine.

Having been twice previously traded just prior to the deadline, the local product knew exactly what to do once getting word from Phoenix Coyotes he’d been dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Although catching up with the Blue Jackets still provided to be an adventure.

“I don’t think anyone ever gets used to it, it’s tough, they’re never easy calls,” Upshall said prior to Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. “But I guess you can start to feel more comfortable, you kind of know what to expect. You know the process of coming in and jumping into a new team.

“But this is the first time I’ve been traded to a team that is still in the playoff race. The guys have been playing great here and it’s a big thrill coming into a team that is playing well.”

Upshall was shipped to the Blue Jackets, along with defenceman Sami Lepisto in exchange for Rostislav Klesla and Dane Byers on Monday, just prior to the trade deadline.

He and Lepisto tried to catch a flight to Vancouver to join the team that night, but ended up stuck in Las Vegas where they had to catch a connecting flight the following day.

“Had we had stayed in Phoenix and left the next morning, we could have taken a direct flight,” Upshall said. “But instead, we had to go from Vegas to Utah and from Utah to Vancouver. It was a long day.”

Regardless, the pair got into Vancouver that afternoon, in time for the Blue Jackets game against the Canucks.

Upshall went on to score the Blue Jackets’ lone goal in their 2-1 shootout loss.

“At that point you’re just going more on adrenaline and emotion and you let that carry you through and you trust your hockey instincts to do the rest,” Upshall said. “I thought we both had a good outing our first game. It was good for my confidence to score a goal. It’s always nice to chip in. It was noted by my younger brother that I’ve scored a goal in my first game with the three teams that I was traded to.

“We joked around saying that if I was traded 40 times a year, I would have 40 goals. It would be kind of odd, but fun at the same time.”

Upshall was originally selected by the Nashville Predators sixth overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, following an outstanding junior career with the Kamloops Blazers.

He spent parts of four seasons with the Predators before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers towards the end of the 2006-2007 season.

Two years later, he was on the move again, sent to Phoenix to be part of the Coyotes’ rebuilding program.

This season, Upshall, 27, had 16 goals and 11 assists in 61 games with the Coyotes before being traded.

“It’s always a surprise when you get traded,” Upshall said. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get traded, but I wasn’t going to rule out that option. It was one of those things, you say your good byes and you look forward to meeting new teammates and new guys. It’s a great bunch of guys that have been really welcoming.

“It’s a tough thing, it’s part of the business. But not many guys are forced to do it every other year.”

Upshall has moved so often, he requires help tending to everyday matters away from the rink.

“I had to hire a group to look after that part of my life,” he said. “That’s a professional job in itself. I have some very good help with that. I have three houses in three different cities, Nashville, Philly and Phoenix. It’s all over the map now.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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